A Natural Selection

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' Bibliophile Sale

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Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' 13th March Bibliophile sale includes a fine and diverse selection of bibliophilic material including a copy of Hortus Gramineus Woburnensis (182) by George Sinclair, botanist and gardener to the 6th Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey from around 1807 until 1825.

Sinclair produced several catalogues of plants at Woburn Abbey where he planted the garden with 242 plots containing various soils, and sowing different combinations of grasses and herbs. This early ecological experiment was carried out in order to benefit practical agriculture and is referred to by Darwin in his On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection (1859).

Described in his obituary for Gardener's Magazine as 'the most important work of its kind ever published' this third edition of the book contains 60 hand-coloured engraved or lithographed plates, and is estimated to sell for £150-200. [Lot 176]

A fascinating copy of A Biological Survey of Clare Island in the County of Mayo, Ireland and of the Adjoining District (1911-1915), from the proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, continues the natural theme. The survey, published by a committee under the chairmanship of Robert Lloyd Praeger included the study of the flora, fauna, antiquities, place-names, family names, geology, climatology, agriculture, meteorology, pisces and fungi of Clare Island and the adjoining mainland in the west of Ireland.

Similar to a survey conducted of Lambay Island in 1905 and 1906, the information was collated by more than one hundred scientists from Ireland, England Denmark, Germany and Switzerland from 1909-11, and published by the Royal Irish Academy. This copy includes parts 1 - 67 of the study and it is estimated to sell for £600-800 [Lot 137]

A copy of Jean François' book entitled La Science des Eaux…avec les Arts de Conduire les Eaux, et Mesurer la grandeur tant des Eaux que des Terres, is an extremely scarce copy of his 1653 work on water and its uses in engineering and for pleasure. The final section of the first work, on computation, may have been discarded before binding as being irrelevant to hydraulic engineering. This first edition carries an estimate of £300-400. [Lot 203]

Compiled by French journalist, Georges Le Févre, Expédition Citroën Centre-Asie. La Croisière Jaune (1933), serves as a pictorial representation of the legendary Yellow Cruise. The cruise was essentially an expedition across central Asia, organised by Georges-Marie Haardt, Director General of car manufacturer Citroën, as a promotional exercise. This limited edition copy was presented to British General W.H. Bartholomew and contains 123 photographic illustrations and six maps charting the expedition across Asia to Beijing. The book is estimated to sell for £800-1,200. [Lot 94]

Other highlights from the sale include a copy of one of the earliest known Italian works on electricity, Congetture Fisiche…nella Macchina Elettrica (1781), by Giambattista Faure [Lot 201] and a comprehensive collection of technological handbooks, Weale's Rudimentary, Scientific, and Educational Series, published in the late 19th century [Lot 230]. The books are estimated to sell for £250-350 and £200-300 respectively.

This auction will be held by Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions at the Godalming saleroom in Surrey on Thursday 13th March, with viewing from Tuesday 11th - Thursday 13th March. The first 80 lots of the sale cover a wide variety of interesting subjects and are all to be offered without reserve. The catalogue and details of online bidding with no additional fee can be found at www.bloomsburyauctions.com.


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Bloomsbury Auctions - 4th March 2014